Getting dressed and ready for the day can become a big challenge for those children who do not like the feeling of their clothes (e.g. tags, seams, twisting). Try these strategies to make the process go smoother, quicker and less threatening for your child.
7 Strategies To Help A Child With Sensory Sensitivities Get Dressed:
- Have your child engage in heavy work to warm up their bodies prior to dressing. For example push a laundry basket full of blankets, wall pushes, animal walks, etc.
- Provide your child with calming pressure. There are many strategies to provide pressure, including a weighted blanket, weight stuffed animals, hugs, or slow massage.
- Keep auditory distractions to a minimum while dressing being performed. For example turn off television or radio.
- Set out clothes the night before with your child. This will help the task run smoother if your child already picked out an outfit. Having your child help with picking out their clothes provides them with a choice of preferred clothing and some control over the task. Examples of preferred clothing may include tight, loose, cotton, no tags, etc.
- Make a dressing routine and stick with it. This will provide a comfortable environment for your child, as they will know what to expect and when.
- When helping your child dress, approach from the front and provide a warning before touching to avoid unexpected touch which may be startling for you child.
- Leave extra time and discuss how much time the task should take prior to starting. A timed timer can provide a visual cue for your child of how long the task of dressing should take (e.g. timed timer, kitchen timer, watch).